2015 – 2020
24 out of 56 images
Since 849, there have been 22 capitals and 39 changes of government seats in Myanmar. Vast Land by Wolfgang Bellwinkel is a photographic study of the last three capitals of Myanmar: Mandalay (1857-1885), Yangon (1885-2005) and Naypyitaw (since 2005). All were planned on the drawing board, all are marked by the claim to power and self-image of those who built them. Bellwinkel’s photographs tell the story of a country in which one tragedy has followed another since the mid-19th century: colonial appropriation, world and civil wars, natural disasters, military dictatorship, ethnic conflicts, expulsions. In contrast to the drama and density of the events, Bellwinkel’s images are sober and precise photographs with which he exposes the character and the different layers of time of the three cities. Complementing the photographs, the 20-page essay by sociologist Heinz Schütte provides an in-depth look at the history and present of the featured cities.